Seeing the feedback on our launch of SwiftKey 4 yesterday was phenomenal. As our Community Manager, times like this really cause me to reflect on what’s made SwiftKey so successful.
Our VIP Community now has an incredible 100,000 members and I want to share with you what I believe sets SwiftKey apart from so many other apps on this scale. Of course, we have our team on this end who pour their hearts into the development of the application; to say they are great at what they do would be an understatement. However, without our community’s input, SwiftKey simply wouldn’t be what it is today. We call you ‘VIPs’ for good reason! I have a very strong connection to this community. In fact, I actually started off as a user, and that evolved into me becoming a full-time member of the team – a real testament to the fact that SwiftKey values its users!
SwiftKey has evolved organically from the start. It started with an idea between two guys… Ben Medlock and Jon Reynolds, now our CTO and CEO, respectively. They wanted to tackle the widespread struggle they observed with people typing on tiny keyboards. From the very start, they recognized that this was a challenge about people and their language use, not about keyboards and code. Over time, the SwiftKey public forum was introduced which constantly provides us with a rudder to help steer the ship that is the SwiftKey application. This provided us with the opportunity to hear what you, our users, have to say. Still, we wanted to listen more. As a result, the VIP Community was created in November 2010.
For those of you who are not yet SwiftKey VIPS, let me give you a snapshot of what it entails. We take a collaborative approach to making SwiftKey awesome. Our VIPs help us to test the app across a wider variety of devices and languages that wouldn’t be possible without their help. They additionally generate and inform us of their ideas, as well as helping other users to get the most out of SwiftKey. We also greatly appreciate the way our VIPs relentlessly evangelize about the company and app amongst their friends and family, and enthusiastically back us for industry awards.
In return, they get access to our work before it goes on general release; they get to be heard and we like to throw out swag and offer up competition prizes when we’re able to. Most of all, we hope they know their voices are heard within the company – their feedback is heard and discussed by the founders, the management team and most importantly, by the very people who build and refine our products.
Now beyond 100,000 users, the VIP Community represents a subset of our total user base which has now grown to around 2 million. There are so many different perspectives on what would make SwiftKey the very best keyboard it can be and we strive to take all of these different opinions into consideration when we make improvements to the application. The VIP Community is a unique space for a more active dialog between users and the SwiftKey Team. It also has blossomed into a fantastic site where users help other users with different tips and tricks they’ve discovered.
With every new VIP that joins us, our global perspective increases. This enables us to make as many people happy with SwiftKey as we possibly can. I know that everyone may not always agree with one another, but there’s dialog. This throws open the scope for growth in a way that simply wouldn’t be possible without you guys. This symbiosis between users and the SwiftKey team is not something that I’ve seen before – not on this level. I feel incredibly privileged to be part of this and I wanted to make this message perfectly clear.
We’ve said it before, but I want this to resonate. You are all beautiful people. With your participation, we will continue to build the very best keyboard that we can. You can sign up for the VIP Community here.
Thank you for being with us on this journey.
It’s the moment everyone’s been waiting for! After months of hard work and collaboration between our developers and community, we’re proud to officially unveil the world’s smartest touchscreen keyboard – SwiftKey 4 – featuring SwiftKey Flow.
When we first unveiled SwiftKey Flow in October, we were stunned by the reaction – it showed us there was a gap in the market for a gesture typing keyboard that really understands what you want to say. With the latest and greatest SwiftKey you can switch seamlessly between tapping, flowing and choosing words.
What’s more, Flow Through Space is a brand new feature that lets you glide down to the space bar between words, writing entire phrases as you go.
To celebrate the launch of SwiftKey 4, we are giving away a Google Nexus 7 tablet and an exclusive SwiftKey t-shirt. To be in with a chance to win, make sure you’re following @SwiftKey and just tweet “I’m tweeting with SwiftKey 4 to win a Nexus 7! Try Android’s smartest keyboard now – http://bit.ly/swiftkey4 #swiftkey”. We’ll pick the lucky winner next Wednesday (27th February) so be sure to check your Direct Messages then! Read our full terms and conditions here.
Also to celebrate, SwiftKey 4 and SwiftKey Tablet 4 are both currently half price, so get them now. For our loyal users who previously bought SwiftKey, the new version will be rolled out as a free update.
SwiftKey 4 also boasts many improvements to the powerful prediction engine that powers all of the keyboard’s language insights. We’ve scrapped “rapid” and “precise” mode in favor of an intelligent system that learns the sort of corrections and predictions you want from the keyboard over time.
The learning capacity for SwiftKey’s personalized insights has been increased. We’ve made tweaks to Smart Space and the way SwiftKey heatmaps how you interact with the touchscreen to make both work more powerfully.
We’re also launching new language support, bringing our total up to 60 languages. No other keyboard supports this many languages at a contextual level, and we’re very proud of this milestone. The new languages are Albanian, Bosnian, Javanese, Sundanese, Thai, and Vietnamese.
There are a lot of thanks we need to give to the incredible amount of hard work that’s gone into building this version of SwiftKey. Our developers each deserve a pat on the back for the outstanding job they’ve done, but also fundamental to making SwiftKey what it is today is our army of SwiftKey VIPs — 100,000-strong — for their efforts in helping refine and shape this version. Thanks to each and every one of you. And if you’ve yet to join us, why not sign up to our VIP Community and help us build the next big thing!
Hello, my name is Lotanna Ezeike. Early last year, my school organised a trip for its pupils to visit SwiftKey at their previous location. I heard they were a mobile engineering oriented company and coincidentally that’s what I want to study at university.
This was definitely a great opportunity for me. We went and it really was great as I had returned to school with a broadened knowledge of SwiftKey.
Unfortunately this wasn’t enough for me as I was so intrigued that I decided to apply for work placement and here I am now – doing and enjoying what interests me most for two whole weeks!
More about me… I’m not really into football but I adore athletics. In fact I actually run for a club called the Cambridge Harriers and my preferred events are the 100m and 200m. In school I am part of a debating society we are currently in a competition called “Debate Mate”. We came second in the UK last year and hope to better that this year and fight for the TOP SPOT!
From the 4th to the 15th of February I have been working here. I’ve been involved in activities from debugging certain issues to dining in a high-class restaurant.
Above all I’ve recently been working on some top secret experiments with themes!
Unlike most companies the flexibility and the balance between work and leisure is evened up. I’ve been to play football with the staff during the breaks and even meetings!
They really took me in as one of their own. In addition the staff/employees are really sociable and I believe I have mixed well with the ones I have worked with.
Overall I’ve really enjoyed my two week work experience and it has really given me an insight into the the world of “work”.
Hopefully in the future will be able to return and actually work here. As, in fact, this is a dream place to work!
Earlier this week we invited our neighbours from the 3rd floor of our HQ, United Learning, to come and give us a talk on what they do. Working in the same building and often passing on the stairways, there’s always been a mutual interest in sharing knowledge and gaining a greater appreciation for what the other does. United Learning is a group of schools which aims to provide excellent education to children and young people across the country.
We were pleased to welcome Andy Buck, Managing director of the Academies of United Learning, and Graham Harvey-Browne, Director of Estates for United Learning (pictured on the left beside SwiftKey’s Test Architect, Michele Sama – who also organises a lot of our guest talks!).
Andy and Graham gave us an insight into United Learning’s journey from addressing the lack of high quality education for girls in the late 19th Century to running 11 independent schools and 20 Academies today. With around 30,000 students and 5,500 staff across the U.K, the organisation is growing quickly and the accompanying challenges of this were something we could really relate to, even if on a smaller scale.
In a more ‘Q & A’ format towards the end of the presentation, we were also able to touch upon other topics that relate to both United Learning’s schools and our own company. This included maintaining a values-led and unique culture, fostering a safe environment for innovation and the importance of strong leadership. We also chatted about the benefits and challenges of harnessing technology in the classroom.
Many thanks to Andy, Graham and the United Learning team for their time. Visit www.unitedlearning.org.uk for more information. This was the latest in a series of talks for SwiftKey staff, previous guests include Stephen Fry, Professor Ted Briscoe and Julian Harty.
At SwiftKey, the VIP community is a big deal and we value everyone who spends time sharing their feedback and suggestions. Sometimes, members give that bit extra and their commitment attracts the attention of the wider team at SwiftKey. Graham, better known to others on the forum as GS88, is definitely one of those people. Everyone – from Community Manager Evan to the co-founders Ben and Jon – has noticed that Graham is a rockstar.
We wanted to thank Graham and showcase who’s behind one of the user handles you might’ve seen on the vip.swiftkey.net site. For new readers, the VIP community is a forum for users to give feedback, share ideas and get their hands on betas. VIPs are a hugely important part of the SwiftKey story, so thank you to Graham and all of those who give their time and effort to making SwiftKey even better.
Over to GS88…
1. What’s your name? (real and VIP handle)
My real name is Graham and my VIP handle is GS88.
2. Where are you from?
I have lived in Texas for my entire life.
3. What’s your day job?
I am a field engineer for a large oil field service company.
4. How did you first hear of SwiftKey?
If I remember correctly, I first heard about SwiftKey from an Engadget article. I have been using it since 2009 when it was just a Beta product. I fell in love with the app and purchased it the day it was released as a full app in the (then) Android Market.
5. What do you think makes SwiftKey different?
Of course, the prediction quality is second to none. The way it is able to learn from a variety of sources to help better predict words is very impressive. Smart Space is a fantastic feature. The smart punctuation key is also innovative and efficient.
The entire SwiftKey team has done a phenomenal job with the creation and continuous improvement of the app. I must also credit the VIP Community with helping along the way with testing and giving feedback on beta releases.
6. How many keystrokes have you saved using SwiftKey?
Honestly, I haven’t the slightest clue for an exact number. Since I started using SwiftKey I have had two phones and two tablets. All of them have been rooted, and I flash new ROMs regularly. Between that and SwiftKey betas, I cannot give a precise number. I can say with confidence that I have saved hundreds of thousands of keystrokes (at least).
7. What’s it like to be part of the SwiftKey VIP Community?
I love being involved in the VIP Community. It is a great group and it is nice being able to help and give back to SwiftKey. I know I’m helping improve the quality and future product that will be released to the masses.
8. What are your three favorite apps? (apart from SwiftKey)
This is such a tough question. To only pick three apps is difficult because I could choose three top apps for a root user and three top apps for a non-root user. To keep this open to everyone, I’ll list three non-root apps. In alphabetical order:
- Agenda Widget for Android [free] – I love this widget. It is a super customizable agenda widget. I found it a couple of years ago and have been using it since. Having a list of my upcoming events on my home screen keeps me aware of my own life (it gets pretty busy). The widget is also scrollable which is a great feature. I like tweaking the appearance of my phone regularly, and this is the perfect widget for color and style adjustment. I’d even say that for a novice there may be too many options.
- Battery Widget? Reborn! [free] – This is another highly customizable widget. It’s relatively new. I just found it and started using it a few months ago. It is still a ‘beta’ app, but I put beta in quotes because nothing about the app implies a beta product. It is very functional with a variety of information and features available within the app (including eta for dead battery, toggles, notification icon and more). The widget can also be color customized and can be resized. This is perfect for any user who has a battery widget.
- BeautifulWidgets [paid] – Again, another highly customizable widget. The recent redesign is wonderful. It really is a “beautiful” app now. The UI looks great. There are so many themes available as well as other options for tweaking the appearance of the widget. The large clock format combined with the date and visual weather animations is fantastic to have on my home screen. Tapping the clock opens alarms. Tapping the weather opens a more detailed forecast. Tapping the date opens my calendar.
9. What are your three favorite websites or blogs?
I visit a number of websites and blogs on a daily basis. For Android related info I hit up Droid Life (droid-life.com), as well as many others. I love cars, so I visit Autoblog (autoblog.com) pretty obsessively. Recently I started reading a web comic called JL8 (previously “Little League” jl8comic.tumblr.com) that follows the lives of the Justice League during their childhood. There have not been an exceptionally large number of strips posted, so it wouldn’t be too difficult to catch up if you are interested.
10. Tell us something unusual about yourself!
I guess an unusual fact is that on my mom’s side of the family I am a 4th generation Houstonian. On my dad’s side of the family I am only a second generation American (my grandfather was born in Poland).
Graham’s post is the second in a blog series about our VIPs following our profile of James – also known as “driftinganomaly”.
As the launch of the next major release of SwiftKey draws closer, we have an updated Beta for you to try out. This update fixes some force close issues, and also resolves a number of bugs reported by our awesome VIPs. We’re very grateful to you all for helping us to get the Beta into such great shape – it really wouldn’t be the same without you.
Please download the APKs onto your phone or tablet, try them out, and let us know what you think in the SwiftKey VIP Community. Your feedback is vital to helping us make every new version of SwiftKey so much better than the last.
Head of Consumer Insight
Changes in this version:
* Fixed crash on changing keyboards
* Fixed force close on clicking update language
* Fixed other crashes
* Resolved majority of non-English punctuation problems
* New look installer to match SwiftKey Flow colors and include an introduction to SwiftKey Flow
* Added Turkish layout
* Chrome Beta should now behave like Chrome
* Snap and tap (correction of words) now compatible with Vietnamese
* Memory usage of settings app reduced
* Improved handling of non-zero length selection in Chrome and Samsung mail client
* Fixed jumping cursor in ExDialler and Samsung calculator
* Microphone key disabled in fields that don’t support voice input
* Fix for keyboard disappearing when phone build installed on tablet sized devices
* Disabled predictions in Kingsoft Office and UC browser to make SK usable in them
* Double space for period turned off by default to prevent accidental period insertion when flowing
* Replaced ‘learnt’ with ‘learned’ in personalization page (US English)
* Turned off slide down from candidate bar to close keyboard when flow is on (to be consistent with the description in the Settings menu)
* Crashes when looking at the heatmap if you visit immediately after using the alternative symbols layout
* Comma key on Arabic keyboard inserts western comma
* Predictions sometimes blank when switching between languages
* Flowing words sometimes results in surprising capitalizations
* “No SD card” ribbon looks bad on low end devices
As SwiftKey’s new B2B Marketing Exec, I am delighted to announce some great news this week. The SwiftKey Healthcare team has been nominated in the Best Mobile Health Product or Service category at the 18th annual Global Mobile Awards, which celebrate continued innovation and quality across mobile technologies.
GSMA’s Chief Marketing Officer Michael O’Hara said, “The competition this year was of an exceptionally high quality, breaking all previous records. Our judging panel has assessed well over 600 entries and nominations for the 37 awards, the largest ever number of honours to be presented at the Global Mobile Awards.”
The shortlist is now down to 158 nominees for the 37 awards. It is a real achievement for SwiftKey Healthcare to be recognized at this year’s awards in light of these comments and against such fantastic competition – read the full list of nominees and awards categories here.
The ceremony, which will be hosted by comedian David Walliams, takes place at the upcoming Mobile World Congress where a large SwiftKey contingent will be attending in late Feb.
This time around we’ll be demonstrating our best-selling Android app and new feature SwiftKey Flow. If you’re going to be at the event come and say hello to the team (Hall 7, 7I108), watch our demos and compete to be the fastest in our SwiftKey Flow Racing game while you’re at it.
Then barely pausing for breath, the SwiftKey Healthcare core team will be crossing continents to host a stand (4181) at HIMSS in New Orleans. You can follow us on Twitter @SarahSwiftKey in the lead-up to the event and chat with us about how our technology works across the clinical landscape.
A bit more about me…To say I am excited about joining SwiftKey is an understatement. I’ve come from a corporate PR and public affairs agency and am really looking forward to submerging myself in all things SwiftKey. I’ll be focusing primarily on healthcare and enterprise. After just a week here I’ve been struck by the international feel of the place and the array of talent and people that work here, each working on these amazingly creative and innovative projects. Oh and the table tennis, mid-week gourmet lunches, endless fruit bars and personal milk frother don’t hurt either…
Looking forward to seeing you soon!